Lexi Sakellariou (left) and Denia Makhilia (right) play a dildo ring toss game at Sexpo, a resource fair promoting sexual health, in the quad on Wednesday, April 26, 2019. (LOLA CHASE/Golden Gate Xpress)
Students gathered at Malcolm X Plaza Wednesday to participate in a dildo ring toss game to learn more about sexual health at this spring’s Sexpo event.
The Health Promotion and Wellness Center held three events as part of a resource fair including a workshop to support survivors of sexual assault and an introduction to sex education. It offered students the opportunity to learn about the many facets of sex while working to break down the stigma surrounding sex education.
Representatives from the Educational and Referral Organization for Sexuality, Queer and Trans Resource Center, Planned Parenthood Generation Action and representatives from the Good Vibrations sex shop were all on hand at the Sexpo, offering free goodie bags and condoms.
“I did not get the sex talk growing up,” said human sexualities minor Lucy Mosqueda, who tabled at the event on behalf of EROS. “My mom beat around the bush and I learned [about sex education] more in college.”
The EROS table offered a dildo ring toss, which provided a fun twist to learning about safe sex and how to properly put on internal and external condoms.
The QTRC offered pamphlets and fliers to provide students with resources and information about sex and gender identity, which QTRC’s assistant director Vanessa Hamill said is more vital than ever given the current political climate. With policies being targeted against queer people, such as the transgender military ban, Hamill believes it’s important to raise awareness and their voices.
“Visibility is really important to us, especially now with how sex is being talked about,” Hamill said.
HPW offered arts and crafts at their table. Students could decorate small boxes to store condoms in, and the representatives handed out a variety of condoms to choose from, including silicone, organic, aloe and water-based.
“It’s important to have events like this where everyone is welcome,” psychology major and HPW ambassador Joseph Montalto said.
After the resource fair, Noora Spalholz, who works as a sexual violence prevention intern for HPW, led a workshop and safe space dialogue on supporting survivors of sexual assault.
“It’s a big issue that I value a lot and we don’t discuss it enough,” political science major Annie Butchert said. “We need to normalize talking about these issues and have it open to the public eye.”
Spalholz talked about how to be supportive of a friend who discloses their sexual assault. She noted that it’s important to listen, let the survivor know you believe them, share resources and to take care of yourself while offering the support.
“Trauma has a big effect on the body mentally,” Spalholz said. “I’m a survivor, and it’s good for me to learn this information in an objective academic sense.”
Rae Sweet and Taylor Davies, two of the Sexpo’s founders, offered a presentation called “Just The Tip” on an array of educational topics.
“There are so many aspects of sexual health that are not freely talked about,” Davies said. “Students need to be able to ask these questions without shame.”
They covered gender identity and expression, physical and emotional attraction, consent, sexually transmitted infections and masturbation, among other subjects.
“We wanted to create equitable, comprehensive health education for students and had to find out, ‘What did students not know?’” Sweet said. “Students don’t feel encouraged to seek out resources and it’s an overwhelming issue.”
There are many resources on campus that students are unaware of, such as free STI testing in the Health Center and hygiene products, Sweet said.
“We are all complex and fluid,” Sweet said of gender and sexuality. “People go to their default. It’s good to take a moment to reflect.”